You’ve got to hand it to Steve Greenwood. He was the manager of Jim Hogan’s Romsey Hotel when Hogan was fighting tooth and nail with the Romsey council and the locals for the right to put poker machines in his pub.
Not surprisingly, Greenwood backed his employer’s stance, but at a cost. “When I was managing the Romsey Hotel I had my car egged and people out the front of the hotel protesting all day,” he said recently.
Greenwood is now managing the Victoria Hotel in Port Fairy, some 340 km south west of Romsey, and it seems he’s learned something from his experiences.
Greenwood was quoted in this article in today’s Warrnambool Standard as saying that, “As long as I am involved with the Victoria Hotel in Port Fairy there will be no poker machines at the venue.”
The residents of Port Fairy and the Moyne Shire in general will be pleased to hear that… Moyne Shire is one of only nine pokie-free shires in country Victoria, and they want to keep it that way.
Greenwood’s comments come at a time when there is considerable local suspicion that the Victoria Hotel’s owner, Graeme Rodger, is planning on trying to bring poker machines to Port Fairy. Rodger is also owner of the Flying Horse Bar & Brewery in Warrnambool, and purchased 38 gaming machine entitlements for the FHBB at the recent Entitlement Auction (30 under the Moyne machine cap, and 8 under the Warrnambool machine cap). Now, the FHBB doesn’t currently have pokier machines, and Warrnambool already has its maximum number of machines… so the concern seems to be that Rodger could be planning on transferring his entitlements to the Victoria Hotel.
However, a spokesman for Rodger’s construction company says this is not the case… and the fact that Rodger is currently trying to buy the Whalers Inn in Warrnambool backs this up. The Whalers already has 45 poker machines, but was only able to buy 34 licences at the recent auction. It seems far more likely that, should Rodger end up buying the Whalers, he’ll transfer his FHBB machine entitlements there… and not to the Victoria Hotel.
Even if the sale falls through, Rodger has indicated that they would sell the entitlements, preferably to a venue outside the Moyne Shire, rather than use them elsewhere.
I really hope that this is the way things work out. The Victoria Hotel and the Flying Horse are both classy, quality establishments that go a long way to show how good a pub can be without poker machines.